Quadratec’s two-door Gladiator shows why Jeep doesn’t make one

Brandan Gillogly

When we laid eyes on Quadratec’s JTe creation at the 2022 SEMA show, it was love at first sight. With two doors and a 6-foot, 6-inch bed, the packaging seemed perfect. Even better, it was forbidden fruit, a Gladiator configuration that didn’t exist outside of this one-off build, created with the help of fabricator Greg Henderson at Unofficial Use Only. Last week, Quadratec let us drive this custom creation and we’re sad to say the honeymoon is over—but it’s not the JTe’s fault at all.

Quadratec built the JTe as a trail cleanup vehicle, and to that end, it has already proven itself; there’s a map on its tailgate tallying the progress made on Quadratec’s goal of hosting 50 trail cleanups in 50 states. To make it the perfect 4×4 trail cleanup machine, the JTe has sturdy steel bumpers made by Carnivore at both ends. Likewise, Res-Q winches both front and rear provide two powerful options for getting vehicles out of tricky spots as well as dragging unwieldy trail trash into position for pickup. The JTe’s 37-inch tires and locking axles make it nearly unstoppable over rocky terrain, and it has plenty of capability for hauling large, awkward payloads out of the backcountry thanks to its custom, stretched bed.

Brandan Gillogly

The reason why I wouldn’t choose a regular cab Jeep pickup is the exact same reason why pickup buyers of any type are increasingly opting for four doors: Such a small cabin simply isn’t practical for a lot of situations. When saddling up for a trip into the high desert with the JTe we were forced to compromise immediately. With two occupants, there’s no room in the cab for any luggage bigger than a knapsack. My carry-on-sized Pelican case with my camera gear was out of the question. I had to prioritize the gear and scale back. That’s probably not the kind of compromise most Wrangler or Gladiator buyers want to deal with. In fact, it’s exactly why the Wrangler Unlimited has become the archetypal 21st-century Jeep, outselling the two-door Wrangler by about 3:1.

Brandan Gillogly

Shorter drivers and passengers won’t have much trouble getting comfortable in the JTE, but taller drivers will have to make a choice. The rear cross-member of the roll bar, custom fabricated from OEM Jeep replacement parts, was threatening to bonk my head with every bump of the road. Despite lowering the seat as far as possible I had to resort to moving it farther forward than I would have preferred and reclining it a bit to give my tender skull some distance between the unyielding steel. That adjustment put my right knee in constant contact with the dash—not ideal, but better than the alternative.

So that’s the bad news, which all stems from me being one to two sizes of human too large for a regular cab Jeep. However, after spending a couple of hours behind the wheel my body melded into a more comfortable position without even realizing it. The same phenomenon happens when shoe-horned into the confines of a sports car. I don’t understand how, but it usually works out. Highway miles fly by in the JTe and the hybrid 4XE powerplant doesn’t have any problem pushing the 37-inch tires down the highway at appropriate speeds. Likewise, the Lynx suspension that lifts the Jeep 2.5 inches and provides clearance for those massive tires was comfortable on the highway and the Nitto Recon Grapplers didn’t howl like a lot of large, aggressive tires often do. However, the JTE is still a Jeep with the aerodynamics of, well, a Jeep. Wind noise becomes apparent at any speed above 50 mph or so.

Brandan Gillogly

Off-road, the wide 37-inch tires can get the JTE out of just about any jam, although it does take its toll. Bumpy desert roads are best taken at low speed, as the heavy tires and tandem solid axles are slow to respond to sudden jolts. It’s not built to be a pre-runner. It’s a pack mule. In that regard, it’s a complete success. It does exactly what it’s meant to do. It’s maneuverable, with a wheelbase identical to a Wrangler Unlimited, and the bed lets it carry oversized items.

Of course, this is not meant to stop anyone from pining for a regular cab Gladiator. If you still think you’d buy such a creation from Jeep if it actually built one, you’re not wrong, you’re just in the minority. While Jeep is not going to build something like this any time soon, there’s nothing stopping you from commissioning your own identical custom. I’m already thinking that my Goldilocks Jeep pickup would be an extended cab version with just a bit more room in the cab and perhaps a wraparound rear window for trail visibility. Maybe Jeep’s 2005 Gladiator concept left a lasting impression on me, or maybe it’s just the lure of the forbidden fruit. If you’d like to see the JTe in person and get in on the action by helping out on a trail cleanup, or planning one yourself, visit Quadratec’s site.

Brandan Gillogly




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    I invite all who say that the single cab truck is not practical to spend a day in a recent Peterbilt, Kenworth, Freightliner or other similar heavy duty vehicle with a day cab. Apples to oranges? Not when one considers what they are meant to do. If one simply must haul excess baggage around every time they twist the key then by all means, buy a crew cab four-door truck with a short-foot bed. Better yet, go buy a minivan, because if one places anything in the bed but are worried that whatever it is might be damaged by the elements or could fly away or whatever, then that person needs a minivan anyway. For those of us that just want a truck, two doors are plenty. And we will enjoy the money saved on fuel because we aren’t hauling around excess baggage. And if there are four or five people in a four door truck where do they put all of their stuff? I wonder…

    Just retired and got out of a 2003 Freightliner FL112SD (day cab). My daily is a 2016 GMC Sierra crew cab (6 passenger) short box. Use it for traveling with a hard tonneau cover. Comfortable and average 18MPG. I can also tow my boat, packed cooler, boating items, and accommodate 6 to the marina. Also hauls our kayaks and gear. Minivan won’t cut it. Hunting trips with 2 friends in a 2 door truck would be a little too cozy. Short bed is fine for storing the gear. Really depends on your personal situation.

    Had two Comanches with the 7 ft bed. At 6’4″ I just fit in the cab. Only wish they had an extended cab version.
    Sad to see Chevy did away with the 2 door extended cab Colorado. Looks like I’ll have my 2018 2dr extended cab for a long time.

    Same, currently have a metric ton with the 7′ box. It’s a workhorse, quite capable, and even for a tall guy like me, plenty comfortable.

    Brandan is a big dude. According to Finnegan, size 14 shoe and bent a master cylinder pushrod in a panic stop. Prob 6’4” or so, which means any Jeep is probably a set the seat and ban anyone else from driving it situation.

    That said, I’m old school, dig the regular cab all day. I have a crew cab 3/4 ton, and it is fine, but it stinks on Forest roads. Trails are right out.

    Don’t be dense… under the back seats, lots of room for messenger bags, briefcases, etc. I’m a construction professional who one day may be driving around prospective clients, owners, subcontractors, etc toting laptops, and the next day have a bed full of palletized grout or towing a fully loaded water buffalo. I can’t do my job without a crew cab, 6 foot bed truck and its written in my contract as such. I’d prefer a shorter bed if they’d buy it for me. I obviously am not speaking to farm trucks, but the commercial construction industry, which seems to be what all the brands are really marketing towards anyhow.

    Make the bed 6 feet even which is still good by todays standards and the cab 6 inches larger so my belly fits and i’m there !

    I own A 2018 f250 long bed and love it. I use it as a truck. my car to go back and forth to work. I have a friend that likes to take her friend on vacation and they load up the 8 ft’ bed with supplies with no room to spare she rents the house and pontoons and i have a free vacation for three or four times a year and with all the room in the crew cab and the long bed it’s perfect and of course the truck is a work horse when i need it.

    “Quadratec’s two-door Gladiator shows why Jeep doesn’t make one”

    But they absolutely did make one, the Comanche, from ’86 to ’92. Love my single-cab long-bed metric ton. There are even hilarious YouTube videos of stock Comanches beating newer Gladiators on the trail. The comments make it even better. Instead, I argue people that buy 4-door Gladiators don’t need Jeeps, but should instead settle with a Sport Trac.

    Nothing cooler than a bench seat single cab with a 7′ box behind you keeping up with the JRUs on the dunes, trails, and easy/medium crawler passes, while watching the massive 4-door Gladiators scrape their rear dumpers due to poor departure angles.

    Jeep needs to make a 2 door Gladiator but have a extra cab,like the 1990’s Dodge ram Club Cab trucks,not a full door..So you have extra room in the cab for taller drivers vs a single cab like this..

    Then again a 5.7 Hemi and 6 speed manual would be the right ticket,but cars are going to crap because of dictatorship governments these days.

    A club style cab and a 4 Ft. bed with a V-6 diesel would be ideal and I think customers would be snatching these items up.

    Well looks like Jeep lost me for good? I drive a 2 door TJ, but currently also drive a Ford Ranger extended cab pickup, as Jeep never made good on their 2 door prototype promise. 99% of the time I am the only one in the truck. Maybe 0.99% of the time someone rides in the front passenger seat. and on very rare occasions someone rides in the back seat. My son wants to take over the Ranger, so I will be shopping for another 2 door extended p/u within the next 6 months

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